He became a chef inspired by his dad and granddad

He became a chef inspired by his dad and granddad

Chef Javed Ahmed

Food is in my blood. My grandfather was a Continental chef, my late father was a pastry chef and now, I am an Indian chef.
Growing up in an environment where food was given so much importance, an interest in the culinary world came naturally to me.

As a kid, I used to visit my father at his restaurant during the weekends, and I was always smitten by the way chefs worked. So, it won’t be wrong to say that I decided to become a chef when I grew up.  

But my father wanted me to join the Army. I was not ready for it.

Then he gave me two choices — either to join the Army or to do a Hotel Management course. Without a doubt, I chose the latter. It’s
been 18 years since I made that decision.  

I enjoy cooking and feeding people. I always look forward to the customer’s feedback as it gives me the motivation to work harder.

My dad was definitely my greatest inspiration.

If I am working on a festive or regional menu, I make sure that at least one of his special desserts are added to it. Of course, I will add an Indian twist to it.

Though I specialise in North Indian cuisine, I also curate modern Indian dishes.

Though the root of the dish will be Indian, one can always find a taste of Continental, Italian or French cuisine. I add the Indian elements through spices, herbs and vegetables. A must-have ingredient in my kitchen is cardamom. 

Though I prefer to have Indian food on a daily basis, I also like Italian and French cuisines. 

The recipe that I am sharing is ‘Chicken Tikka Lychee ki Chaat’. Chicken tikka is a classic Indian dish and crowd favourite. The innovative factor here is that I have made it in the form of a ‘chaat’.   

The chicken is first grilled in the tandoor and kept aside for 5 to 10 minutes to cool down. Thereafter, slice the chicken and add lychees, which is then mixed in spices, coriander and tamarind chutney and Philadelphia cheese. This gives a slightly different taste to the classic ‘chaat’.

If you are planning to make it at home and don’t have an oven, you can choose to pan-grill it instead. Marinate the chicken like you normally would with yoghurt, chilli powder, and ginger-garlic paste and grill the chicken on a pan.

It’s a fairly simple dish that you can enjoy with friends and family. 

Chicken Tikka Lychee Chaat



- Boneless chicken, 200 gm
- Hung curd, 100 ml 
- Red chilli powder, 2 tsp
- Ginger garlic paste, 2 tsp

- Philadelphia cheese, 10 gm

- Chaat masala powder, 2 tsp

- Jeera powder, ½ tsp
- Lychee, 4 to 5 
- Salt to taste

Ingredients for Green Mint and Coriander Chutney

- Chopped mint leaves, 1 cup

- Chopped coriander leaves, ½ cup

- Chopped green chilli, 1 no

- Lime or lemon juice, 1 to 2 tsp

- Black salt

Ingredients for Tamarind and Dates Chutney

- Tamarind, 1 cup 
- Dates, 10 
- Jaggery, 100 gm 
- Red chilli powder, 4 tsp
- Ginger powder, 2 tsp
- Salt to Taste

Ingredient for Sweet Yoghurt

- Yoghurt, 150 ml
- Sugar, 30 gm

For marination of chicken

- Take a bowl and add hung curd, red chilli powder, ginger garlic paste and salt. Mix it well. Add the chicken and leave it aside for half an hour. Cook the chicken in the oven at 250 degree Celsius for 8 to 10 minutes.

- Once the chicken cools down, cut it in ½ cm cubes

Method for Green Mint and Coriander Chutney

- Blend all the ingredients with little water till it becomes a smooth paste. Keep aside

Method for Tamarind and Dates Chutney

- Boil the tamarind and dates in water.
- Once they become soft, add the jaggery and red chilli powder, ginger powder, salt and cook till the jaggery melts. Switch off the burner and let the mixture cool.

- Grind the chutney mixture into a smooth paste and sieve it through a strainer. 
- Add more salt if needed. If the chutney becomes too thick add some water to liquidise it.

Method for Sweet Yoghurt

- Mix yoghurt and sugar together in a mixer.

Method to assemble Chicken Tikka Lychee Chaat

- Cut the cooked chicken tikka into cubes and mix the chopped lychee with the chicken. * Add sweet yoghurt, green mint and coriander chutney and the tamarind and dates chutney.

- Sprinkle some chaat masala and jeera powder. 
- Add Philadelphia cheese and mix them well gently. 
- Take a large or small mould or ring. Put the chicken tikka and lychee chaat in the ring and press it down. 
- Remove the ring and garnish with laccha crispy masala potato or sev.

Chef Javed Ahamad, Executive chef, Maziga